Nims and his team wrapped up his phenomenal achievement today, finishing off Shishipangma at 8:58 a.m. local time.
They had posted a little earlier they were headed up via their GPS tracker.
This may indicate he broke out left on the climb, further onto the North-East face, before then climbing directly to the summit. This way is sometimes chosen to avoid the often corniced summit ridge, and leads more directly to the true summit of Shishipangma.
From the very start, the audaciousness of this venture has shown through. The challenges were each immense in themselves.
From his opening statements: “The game is on, either you believe in me or not.” displaying a self confidence that never appeared to outwardly waver, Nims faced:
- doubters and nay-sayers at the beginning “people made the joke out of me.”
- to funding (nothing like taking a 2nd mortgage to help fund your expedition),
- to the logistics of a 14 – peak, 3 country, permit system,
- to rallying the team and
- actually facing the very real challenge of climbing the tallest and some of the most dangerous peaks in the world,
- on a timetable that allowed no time for weather, crouds or delays.
Then throw in a few people who needed to be rescued along the way.
Nims has triumphed over it all, completing a goal that early in the year seemed as unlikely as any goal could seem to be. There were just too many hurdles, too many unknowns, so many factors outside of anyone’s control.
Yet through it all, Nims just kept going. Rescuing others on Annapurna, skipping from the top of Everest to the top of Lhotse in under 11 hours, breaking trail in a season of high uncertainty to the top of K2.
Then, finally, gaining an elusive permit to Shishipangma to complete his quest.
A truly amazing accomplishment in what can only be described as against all odds.
His journey is best savored in his own words, with photos and videos in highlights from his climbs below.
Blizzards at Camp 1. Life on Shishipangma for Nims and his team as they closed in on his 14th – 8,000 meter peak
It’s one thing to look at a weather report, and it is another to see and hear it in action.
This morning Nims posted the latest, and also confirmed his date of October 29 for the summit attempt – which is hopefully in better conditions than this.
And this is only from Camp 1.
He also mentions an avalanche, a real danger of course on the lower angled slopes. In heading out of Camp 1 and up towards towards Camp 2, the easier angled slopes are also right in the danger zone for more of the same and the recent snow will not be helping.
They have also confirmed a date for their summit push, and mention climbing from Camp 3 on the exposed Col that starts the final ridge to the summit. At 7,400 meters it puts one in pretty close proximity to the summit, but it is also highly exposed.
Looking well bundled up, I guess that is a given at this time of year, Nims announces the summit day to complete his quest is set for 29 October. Just in time to get back down for Halloween it seems.
Right now, 29 October does look optimal on the weather chart, providing time to get in position as the weather improves, then go for the summit on the day forecast to have the lowest winds. Himalayan climbing pretty much always starts some time the night before, so the Monday night/Tuesday morning time is critical.
“I have bleed from every angle and it’s been horrifically amazing journey.” #Nimsdai. Highlights in words and video from the 8,000 meter peaks – the story so far
There are a lot of numbers in the record Nims is attempting. The 8,000 meter peaks. All 14 of them. All in 7 months. All at the age of 36.
The real story however, is about the triumph of the human spirit over a host of challenges, any one of which could of stopped this venture dead in its tracks.
His short, dramatic video introducing the expeditions didn’t mince words, it didn’t use words like attempt, or maybe.
“What has taken others nearly 8 years to achieve, Nims will achieve in just 7 months.”
For anyone who has even contemplated doing just one of the 8,000 meter peaks, you have to start with a dream, a belief that you can do it. And not just a belief, a heartfelt conviction.
You will naturally have doubts, fears, naysayers and perhaps face financial hurdles.
You will have to turn all that aside, turn inside to your heart and really work out if you really want to do it. And like in climbing Everest, ego and elevation may be as much the challenge as anything physical you will face and numbers you have to conquer.
Your decision, like all climbing decisions, won’t be very rationale. Climbing never is.
Now, for Nims, multiply that “I am going to climb all these peaks, in 7 months,” dream and fit it into a crazy timetable. Then take a 2nd mortgage on your home and become your own biggest fundraiser.
Then go out publicly and proclaim it across all those less than kind social channels. You will now be up on a very tall and very shaky pedestal.
Looking at what Nims is saying in his Instagram posts, the numbers fade and the immensity of the challenge comes to the fore. It is interesting to see how his writings, his photos and his focus has changed over the last 6 months. It is in many ways heartening English is his second language, his writing is direct, clear, and with the clarity that comes from not having a bunch of extra qualifiers softening the experience.
Certainly he was dealing with many doubters in the early days, at a level he doesn’t even think worth repeating – as he says “you just keep digging in and working hard for it.”
Here from Annapurna you get a feel for his personality. Not many of us would have been smiling at that altitude in the conditions they were facing.
As he set on on the first of April for Annapurna, he posted:
“I am at my happy place again. Absolutely pleased to be back here since Jun 2017. Game on
Simple, direct, echoing a love of the mountains and climbing amongst them.
Seven months ago the odds looked decidedly long, like one chance in a 100, or more likely a 1,000. And that was to complete the venture.
We shouldn’t forget that the Himalayas, and the 8,000 meter peaks are dangerous, and on Everest alone, 11 people died this year.
Throughout the season, the rescues on Annapurna, the foul early season weather on K2, and finally, just the opportunity to get a permit to climb Shishipangma stacked up, and then were overcome.
If anyone doubted the climbing challenges faced, a quick flip through the videos showed deep snow, high winds and the team breaking track for others to the summits.
Dhaulagiri looked particularly unpleasant and it was certainly a season when a large number of climbers turned back without summiting. Not difficult to see why when you watch this. Himalayan misery at its best perhaps?
With Everest looming next, Nims stopped to take that iconic shot of the 100’s of climbers lined up on the summit ridge of Everest that was seen around the world.
Ten hours and forty-five minutes after reaching the top of the world, he was on the summit of Lhotse. For those of us fortunate to have seen the sunrise from the heights of Everest, his words resonated perfectly:
“I must say I THROUGHLY enjoyed the view with the sunrise, giving the life both to the mountaineers and to the planet earth.”
Having completed Phase 1 in Nepal, Nims moved to Pakistan, heading up the huge Diamir Face on Nanga Parbat. The joys of high altitude climbing and the deep snow are best shown in this video from the climb “LEAD, FOLLOW, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY”
Nims moved into the heart of the Karakoram, quickly working his way through Gasherbrum 1 and 2, Broad Peak and onto K2.
In a year when as I hiked up the Baltoro, passing climbers and Sherpas headed down with stories of “snow over their heads” Nims headed up.
If anyone doubts his high altitude abilities, his undoubtably unscripted, unprompted and completely coherent monologue atop K2 is a reminder of just how well he climbs and thinks at high altitude.
From the early days of the challenge, of dealing with doubts, of needing to perhaps convince himself as much as others, the K2 video resonates with a sense of thanks and gratitude: from the Sherpas climbing with him, to the sponsors, to the supporter who have helped him out with his crowdfunding campaign, particularly in the early days when doubts were certainly greater than the peaks themselves.
K2 was a huge milestone, arguably the toughest and most uncertain of all the summits, particularly this year. Unlike Everest, he hadn’t climbed K2 before and it was to be all new to him. In a few final words, Nims sums it up as he heads for Shishipangma:
“But above all, we have came this far with great positive mindset, that willing to make things happen, great sense of humour, humility and the discipline factor we had to stick by. This project has certainly tested my ability of leadership and the management skills. I have certainly learned a lot and I still believe there’s a lot to learn.”
Reinhold Messner and Nirmal Purja. “We talked and within 2 min of talking he said – Nims you will do it. Only those who believe in making the impossible can see this kind of vision – I guess ? It was an honour meeting the living legend of 8000ers and the man who believed in his vision from his heart.”
If you have read this far, you certainly have more than a passing interest in the heights? Perhaps you are interested in joining me on Everest next year? For a trek to Everest Base Camp or an attempt at reaching the top of the world.